BK Wants to Rule Breakfast in America

Discussion
Sep 08, 2010

By George Anderson

None of the fast feeders have done breakfast as successfully
as McDonald’s, even though many have tried. Burger King is looking to change
all that with a new ad campaign to support the the addition of nine new items
to the chain’s breakfast menu.

Mike Kappitt, chief marketing officer at Burger
King, told The Associated
Press
that the company has "almost abdicated" the breakfast
business to its larger rival.

"We feel that it’s time to take it back, or at least our fair share
of it. That’s our ambition," he added.

Among the items being rolled out
are the BK Breakfast Ciabatta Club Sandwich, Mini Blueberry Biscuits, the
BK Ultimate Breakfast Platter (scrambled eggs, sausage, hash browns, a biscuit
and pancakes) and a line of Iced Seattle’s Best Coffee in regular, mocha
and vanilla flavors. The chain will continue to sell the popular Croissan’wich
and other items currently on its breakfast menu.

Burger King has launched
a national radio and television campaign that will start out reintroducing
the chain as an option for breakfast and will then transition to playing up
some of the items on its menu. The campaign will also make use of digital banner
ads, a mobile application and out-of-home advertising.

"The campaign is a rallying cry for consumers to shake up their morning
routine by opting for a hearty breakfast at BK," Mr. Kappitt said in a
press release.

Discussion Questions: Will Burger King become a bigger player in the breakfast
category with its menu additions and new ad campaign? What are the biggest challenges
BK faces in trying to grow its breakfast business?

[Editor’s Note] McDonald’s generates roughly 25 percent of its revenue
from breakfast compared to 12 percent for Burger King, Mr. Kappitt told the AP.

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17 Comments on "BK Wants to Rule Breakfast in America"


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Steve Montgomery
Guest
10 years 8 months ago

Let’s see–BK’s CMO states we “dabbled” in breakfast and the company now wonders why it only generated 12% of their revenue from it? Customers recognize what is important to the retailer by the emphasis placed on it. Would you rather eat breakfast at a QSR that has placed a major focus on it or one that has dabbled?

Will the new BK items and ad campaign make a difference? Certainly can’t hurt. That being said, BK will have to overcome several hurdles starting with corporate culture. Something that was never important is now a metric we are going to place a lot of attention on? That takes constant internal reinforcement (not to mention items customers want to try). It will be interesting to see what the reports are six months from now.

Dr. Stephen Needel
Guest
10 years 8 months ago

If the King advertises these new products, I absolutely refuse to go there. Way too creepy for that time of day.

I’m not seeing anything on this menu that’s going to shake up the industry and while I’m sure BK would like to rule breakfast in America, they’re going to have to be a lot better than this to beat McD’s.

Dick Seesel
Guest
10 years 8 months ago

I’m not a fast food junkie, but I have never had a BK breakfast sandwich up to the standards of McDonald’s. (And now Subway, with its vast network of locations, has entered the battle.) BK needs to ensure that its quality standards are higher, and then it needs to target its new offerings to its core customers…is the consumer of the double chicken breast sandwich really the same person likely to order mini blueberry biscuits?

Ryan Mathews
Guest
10 years 8 months ago

There’s this small nagging issue of the brand. Burger King doesn’t scream breakfast to me. It seems all about lunch, dinner–anytime really, except breakfast.

Can they buy/lobby breakfast market share? Of course.

Can they sustain the market share they buy?

Only if the product is seen by consumers as good, a value and healthier than other fast food alternatives–and that’s a tall order.

Paula Rosenblum
Guest
10 years 8 months ago

I think so much of the fast food business is about location that if BK creates the offerings, and they’re not bad, and the drive-thru is on the customer’s route, it will gain share of the business.

Will it outstrip McDonald’s? Probably not, but that’s not the goal here. The goal here is to gain something. If the food tastes good and the marketing is spot on, the customer will come.

Roger Saunders
Guest
10 years 8 months ago
Significant challenges lie ahead on this play, and it’s not just “advertising” that will put the King over the top to success. While it is true that BK has a solid following of loyal consumers–the August Consumer Intentions & Actions (CIA) Survey points to their Customer base saying they have frequented the restaurant on average 12.2 years, as their QSR of choice–they have made their bones on a young male, consuming beef. The BK customer goes elsewhere for coffee in the morning. They prefer McDonald’s, Starbucks, and Dunkin’ Donuts at nearly twice the rate of BK. When the BK customer isn’t dining with them, they choose McDonald’s as the alternative restaurant. The McDonald’s consumer crosses over at 1/2 the incidence to a Burger King. This will take a disciplined, long-term commitment on Burger King’s part. They capture their customers based on location, price/value, and menu items. The daypart will continue to grow and be stable, but BK is starting at a low point. As they enter the fray in this time slot, they will have… Read more »
Ian Percy
Guest
10 years 8 months ago

I just read in another blog that breakfast is the new “power lunch.” It’s more economical, you get to have a conversation with a relatively fresh, non-distracted mind, and, if you have it at a fast food place, it’s certainly convenient.

But as others have said…at BK? Out of necessity I had one of their croissant egg breakfast things yesterday. Sure didn’t look like the picture! A soggy little thing that should cause the French to sue over the use of the word “croissant.” Would I deliberately arrange to meet someone there? Let me think…ahhhh, no.

As a morning person there is nothing like a great breakfast place. But apart from Butterfield’s here in Scottsdale where people line up 7 days a week, no one owns that space. Be a great idea though–a Breakfast Club franchise for business people. Work hard from 6:00 AM to 10:30 AM and then knock off the rest of the day.

Lee Peterson
Guest
10 years 8 months ago

I think you have to keep in mind that the B-fast market is an infinitely different space than it was just a few years ago. Think of the new, stronger products from major players like McD’s, Starbucks and even grocery, like Whole Foods now in the marketplace. This is no simple “let’s do a McMuffin and we’ll win” task. You’ve got to commit.

Aside from the commitment question, the biggest challenge for me would be along the lines of what’s hinted above: does BK actually have “permission” to enter this day part? Or, as stated, are they “way too creepy” to play in the a.m.? We’ll find out pretty quick.

Cathy Hotka
Guest
10 years 8 months ago

If they add an option that counts as *healthy* they could attract a whole new audience….

alexander keenan
Guest
alexander keenan
10 years 8 months ago

It is not just the food, it is the complete experience. I like Burger King but I go to McDonald’s when my time is limited because I know I can always get in and out by a certain time.

Camille P. Schuster, Ph.D.
Guest
10 years 8 months ago

What has made McDonald’s breakfast successful? The Egg McMuffin staple is identified with breakfast at McDonald’s even though they have experimented with other menu selections. The Egg McMuffin has been successful and remains the constant on the menu whatever else changes. Why is it successful? Nice combination of flavor, convenience (can eat with one hand), protein, reasonable calories (without the hash browns).

The addition of McCafe with interesting coffee choices at reasonable prices has been successful. So the Seattle’s coffee choices may be successful. Compare the other choices of Burger King with the Egg McMuffin. Successful strategy? Maybe not.

Craig Sundstrom
Guest
10 years 8 months ago

I suppose, technically speaking, the answer to the QOD is actually “very likely”, since almost any share will be greater than the .001% they have now (or whatever the actual number is). But in a meaningful sense I don’t see much hope: “introducing a whole new lineup” screams to me “we don’t really know what works!” I’ve long been a fan of BK’s burgers and other sandwiches – the fries not so much – but their breakfast items have made me cringe…these latest additions are perhaps not so cringeworthy, but they don’t excite either.

Jonathan Marek
Guest
10 years 8 months ago

Everyone wants to own breakfast right now, and (as I’ve talked a lot about on APT’s restaurant blog) there are far too many players chasing too little opportunity. Of all the players, Burger King is among the most likely to get burned.

Overall, BK needs a new strategy across the entire business. For years, they’ve been guessing at “the next big thing”, going all-in on marketing and PR, and getting burned, from an expensive remodel strategy, to 99 cent double cheeseburgers, to the barbell item strategy, to, yes, breakfast. They need a sustainable value platform at multiple price points (like Subway, McDonald’s and Taco Bell have put together). Then, they need a robust, data-driven product/price point testing platform to figure out what new item and LTO tactics will drive profitable sales growth against that platform.

Carlos Arámbula
Guest
10 years 8 months ago

Burger King’s strength is the grill. A grill is a weakness in the breakfast day-part.

BK lacks the fully portable products for commuters and the sit-down fork and knife (albeit plastic) items folks want to eat inside the restaurant tables. Unless the kitchen is revamped drastically Burger King will never be able to compete more aggressively in this day-part. Additionally, several of BK’s breakfast offerings–including the new ones–appear to be heat-and-serve items consumers can make at home.

Ed Rosenbaum
Guest
10 years 8 months ago

Burger King abdicates the breakfast business to McDonald’s because they only generated 12 percent of their revenue from it? Now they want back in the game? Do they know what they want or is this a result of the recent sale announcement?

BK will gain some market share points because they have a following and will get people to stop. But for how long? I doubt they can pull in enough business to surpass Mickey D. or, for that matter, even Dunkin’ Donuts.

Al McClain
Guest
Al McClain
10 years 8 months ago

I think what BK is really doing here is introducing a breakfast band aid, rather than anything revolutionary.

Side note: Why do so many fast feeders introduce breakfast items that look (and taste) like reformulated lunch items? I think they are really wishing that consumers would eat lunch twice a day so they wouldn’t have to bother with breakfast.

Debbie Tewes
Guest
Debbie Tewes
10 years 8 months ago

I agree with the comments that suggest that a healthy fast-food breakfast to go is definitely the way to go. Not being a ‘morning’ person myself, I am always looking for the healthiest, quickest morning meal before starting work. If BK can deliver healthy alternatives to what is out there now, and heavily advertise on that aspect, I think they have a better than good shot in this market.

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